Ubisoft Hell's Highway

Building video game buzz with an army of buzz cuts

Big-name game developer Ubisoft approached Renegade with the challenge of building buzz for the launch of its new WWII game, “Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway.” First, we zeroed in on the target: hard-core male gamers who value historical authenticity and are willing to try new gaming experiences.

Rallying the Troops

To kick things off, Renegade constructed a vintage WWII “recruitment” station where attendees at the PAX Expo in Seattle could get free Hell Cuts (haircuts) in exchange for a free copy of the new Brothers in Arms game. A professional barber administered the HELL CUTS, which included spray painting the word HELL on their buzzed noggins. Talk about creating buzz! Less-dedicated foot soldiers could line up for vintage WWII temporary tattoos.

Over 30 gamer blogs and websites, including category leader GameSpot, featured the HELL Cuts and provided Ubisoft a perfect segue into the next part of this 360° experience: Enlist4Hell.com. At this viral site, recruits could customize a highly “salty” recruitment video in order to recruit a friend and enter an online sweepstakes.

Marching Towards Victory

Though our goal was to buzz 101 recruits, in honor of the 101st Airborne, we ended up shaving 156 heads, including two women and seven reporters. Each of these recruits, along with the 550 or so who opted for tattoos, marched around the show as walking billboards, ultimately earning the campaign coverage on over 30 gamer websites and blogs. Thousands subsequently visited Enlist4Hell.com, signed up for the sweepstakes and forwarded the highly viral “recruitment” video.